Covering the ‘exam stars’
Posted Monday, February 25 2013 at 02:00
The policy was passed in 2005 and has never been implemented, why must it be implemented now? How has the university been running for the past six years?
Around this time every year, we receive a lot of feedback on our coverage of examination results. While our coverage, especially the “stars” that grace the front pages and the profiles that take a significant part of the newspaper, tend to excite parents and schools, some readers find it repulsive.
A reader, who wrote to us a few weeks ago, took issue with our January 22 edition for dedicating 22 pages to PLE results. His argument—which makes sense—is that in an edition of 36 pages, some of them taken up by adverts, the newspaper would then be compelled to give negligible coverage to events that are perhaps more important than PLE results.
To some extent, we agree that our coverage of examination results is overblown. As editors, we also have misgivings about pandering to results and grades. We have discussed other ways of covering these results beyond pictorials and “success stories” to critically examining issues affecting performance of, say, Science subjects, especially in rural schools.
Three years ago, we considered different options and, at some point, produced a pullout for examination results to ensure that other news events get adequate coverage. This newspaper has also done a series on past “Stars” to examine exam success and lifelong success. We cannot, however, escape the reality that newspapers are also businesses and there is the constant reminder that the market demands those profiles.
Here is how our Education Editor, Steven Tendo, puts it: “As a newspaper, we know from experience that examination results are highly demanded by the market. Readers want to know how students performed so they can make informed decisions.” That does not, however, mean we cannot change or improve the way we cover results.
We also acknowledge that the competition in today’s education sector, particularly between schools, feeds into our coverage. Schools and parents want to see their students and children in the newspapers. How we reconcile this public interest with what we, as editors, would like to print remains a dilemma. What do you, as a reader, think? How do you want us to cover examination results? Your views are welcome.
Ms Vuchiri is the Public Affairs Editor and can be contacted at: P.O. Box 12141 Kampala.
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Twitter: @MVuchiri and @DailyMonitor